What you missed at AHC Manchester • Hotel Designs


For years, the Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) has been a major event in the calendar that has attracted major investors, developers and operators in the UK hotel industry. In fact, the event has become so popular now, with over 800 delegates in the safe shelter that it was necessary to relocate from familiar territory to Hilton Manchester Deansgate to where he now stands in the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

At the epicenter of the new venue was the auditorium, where more than 100 expert speakers from the industry took the stage during the two-day event, including senior executives from global hotel brands. These included: Adela Cristea, Vice President, UK and Ireland Business Development Manager, Radisson Hotel Group; Satya Anand, President, EMEA, Marriott International; Stephen Cassidy, Senior Vice President and General Manager UK, Ireland and Israel, Hilton; Philip Lassman, Vice-President Development Northern Europe (United Kingdom, Benelux and Nordic countries), Accor; Dimitris Manikis, President and CEO EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Karin Sheppard, Senior Vice President & Managing Director Europe, IHG and Camil Yazbeck, Senior Vice President, Head of Development Northern Europe, Accor.

Speakers took turns presenting their perspectives, strategies and visions for the future through four stages: vision, collaboration, innovation and transformation which represented the four pillars that underpin this year’s theme “Change for Good”. . And it was clear that there was a real sense of collective excitement and energy, and renewed optimism not only for the recovery, but also for the opportunity to reset and reconsider the hospitality industry as a whole. People’s passions have apparently been rekindled. The conversation around “responsible recovery” was discussed throughout the event and seemed to spill over into discussions with the number of afters organized in the city.

The hospitality industry is emerging from the pandemic with a long list of changed priorities. Values, unlike value for money, create new challenges for the hospitality industry. Sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social Governance) are becoming increasingly important priorities for customers, operators, employees and owners.

Three inspiring leaders, Satya Anand, President EMEA, Marriott International; Dimitris Manikis, President & MD EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Karin Sheppard, SVP and MD Europe, IHG, discussed the characteristics of a ‘good brand’, of how people are increasingly aware of the ESG and that travel has become more useful. “ESG offers a unique opportunity to bring young people back into this sector,” said Manikis. “The future leaders of our industry – doing the right thing for humanity will bring back the right people. “

Karin Sheppard continued with the strong statement: “The best we can do today is not the best we can do tomorrow. Be humble because we are all here to learn and we don’t have all the answers, but without strong ambitions nothing will ever change.

ESG was brought to the forefront during the ‘Serviced Living – Capturing the New Demand’ session when Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group clearly expressed his strong feelings’ with passion and intention there are ways to provide truly sustainable buildings ”and shared his company’s mission to deliver fully zero carbon hotels in his portfolio.

Image caption: Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group, speaks passionately about truly sustainable buildings.  |  Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Image caption: Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group, speaks passionately about truly sustainable buildings. | Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Lamington Group recently launched Room2 Chiswick, its first net zero carbon offering which is 89% more energy efficient than other hotels in the UK. It is 100% electric, has a blue roof that can hold 50,000 liters of filtered rainwater for use in the hotel and is covered with 200 tons of soil to grow a green roof to promote biodiversity and insulate the building. . Presence sensors inside the building manage heating, lighting and cooling to save energy efficiency.

Labor shortages significantly affect the industry and improving the reputation of the hospitality industry is essential if staff shortages are to be alleviated. The industry has an unfortunate association with long hours and low wages, which was highlighted by keynote speaker Gary Neville, owner of GG Hospitality and manager of Stock Exchange Hotel and Hotel Football: “The hotel staff have been treated poorly for too long and the pandemic has made it obvious to me. People come first and they need confidence and flexibility, empathy and compassion.

Image caption: Gary Neville, owner of GG Hospitality, said

Image caption: Gary Neville, owner of GG Hospitality, said “hotel staff have been treated badly for too long” Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

During the ‘Power to the People’ session, Chris Mumford, Founder, Cervus Leadership Consulting, David Orr, CEO, Resident Hotels, Thomas Greenall, CEO, Bespoke Hotels and Harry Cragoe, owner of The Galivant / Costel Hotels joined forces to respond to the labor supply which has made it possible to raise hotel managers’ awareness of the well-being of their staff.

Harry Cragoe said his business “is about creating happiness” and he wants happy employees because that means guests are likely to be happy. “At Gallivant, mini bonuses of £ 10 are given out every time a member of staff is checked out by guests who give their feedback at the end of their stay. Monthly totals can range from £ 300 to £ 400, ”he added.

Nicholas Northam, who heads Interstate’s white-label operations at more than 120 hotels in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, Russia and the CIS, said the workforce shortage was less of an issue. the number of people available to work than the skills of potential employees. . “We’re looking for a lot of different ways to find the talent we need,” Northam said. Among programs that may have already been hampered by a company’s behavioral sensitivities, Interstate has set up what it called “academies” in some UK prisons. Through Interstate, Northam said, inmates were instructed in cooking and housekeeping roles.

Chris Dexter, CEO of Kew Green, in a direct political appeal to the UK government to ease pressure on the labor market, said: ‘Open visa channels’. Pay rates were increasing, he said, but jobs remained vacant due to insufficient numbers of people available for work.

While the audience enjoyed hearing the anecdotal perspectives of the industry’s top minds and the opportunity to learn from how they redefined their strategy after such a difficult time, the cold and hard numbers l always win.

Thomas Emanuel, Director of STR hosted ‘Decoding the Revenue Data’ in which he gave a comprehensive analysis of the industry – including how the UK has consistently outperformed Europe as a whole, and that the occupation at UK in the third quarter returned to pre-Covid levels: however, London and other major cities are lagging behind due to reduced international travel.

Meanwhile, in “Profits & Pricing,” Michel Grove, COO at HotStats and Joe Stather Director, OPRE, Hotels, CBRE Hotels, asked if hotels still attract the investor community? Their discussion culminated in the conclusion that investor demand actually exceeds supply, which supports relatively strong prices and that in turn an increased number of transactions is expected in 2022. They identified that profitability is the key. lower in London and Gateway Cities, but these markets see the highest demand from investors. The growing interest in alternative real estate is also fueled by increased demand from investors.

Looking ahead, AHC 2022 will take place October 3-4 at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Main image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography


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